It’s Oscar Sunday, approximately five hours before Hollywood’s shellacked and starved-svelte legions will begin streaming onto the red carpet, and Julianna Margulies is sipping an iced latte on a couch at the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo, some 2,500 miles from Los Angeles’s Kodak Theatre. It’s not as if she has been a stranger to the red carpet—or the victor’s podium—this awards season: She won both the Golden Globe and the SAG award for best actress in a drama series for her starring role on CBS’s runaway hit The Good Wife.
But the fact that her success is on the small screen means that Oscar day for Margulies is blessedly free of stylists, stilettos and Spanx. Instead, the actress is in jeans and boots, having just come from brunch at Balthazar with her girlfriends and their respective children, followed by a playdate in Gramercy Park with her two-year-old son. Though she was up at 6 a.m., is now submitting to a lengthy interview and will later spend hours learning a court scene for tomorrow’s filming in Brooklyn (pick-up time: 5:30 a.m.), Margulies considers it a day of leisure.
“I’m tired,” she admits after detailing a work schedule that consists of 14-hour-plus days on The Good Wife in addition to promotional appearances for her latest film, City Island. Somehow she also manages to fit in daily quality time with her son and near-nightly dinners—and even Saturday-night dates—with her husband, Keith Lieberthal, a Harvard Law–educated attorney (who, as many Internet gossips have noted, rivals most any Hollywood leading man in the adorableness category). Margulies is still recovering from Friday’s filming session, which lasted until 4 a.m. Saturday. “I drink too much coffee,” she says with a sigh. “I’ve learned what a red eye is: a cup of coffee with a shot of espresso in it. Then the other day I was complaining about how I needed to wake up, and someone said, ‘Do you know what a black eye is?’” Margulies giggles conspiratorially, as if she’s talking about an illicit substance. “Two shots of espresso in a cup of coffee. I thought, I don’t want to cross that threshold just yet.”
Yet, magically, she looks as fresh as if she has just returned from a week at Canyon Ranch. If she’s wearing any makeup, it’s undetectable, and still there’s not a trace of darkness under her eyes. (Comfortingly, though, when Margulies emotes, fine lines befitting her 43 years do appear around her eyes and across her forehead, extinguishing the suspicion that she must rely heavily on needles to look so good on high-definition television.) “I think the whole under-eye-bag thing is hereditary, and I just got lucky,” she says. Goodness knows it’s not the result of pampering: “Someone recently asked me the last time I had a facial. What am I going to say to my child? ‘I know you don’t see me all week long, so Mommy’s going to go get a facial on Saturday?’”